Manitoba Legislative Assembly

By White, Judy | Canadian Parliamentary Review, Autumn 1996 | Go to article overview
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Manitoba Legislative Assembly

White, Judy, Canadian Parliamentary Review

The House recessed on June 6, 1996, bringing to a close a fairly raucous Spring sitting that was characterized by the introduction of a heavy legislative agenda, debate of estimates, highly polarized ideological debates and a strike by public home-care workers.


The Government brought forward a legislative package of 75 bills which were all moved for Second Reading before the recess, as required by the Provisional Rules. Considered by some to be the most far-reaching legislative package of the Filmon Government to date, it includes a number of bills that are expected to have a significant impact upon Manitobans and their province. These bills include:

* Bill67 - The Manitoba Telephone System Reorganization and Consequential Amendments Act - this legislation will prepare the crown corporation for sale as had been announced by the Government earlier in the year.

* Bill 26 - The Labour Relations Amendment Act contains amendments that affect the relationship between unions and their members. These proposed changes include requirement of 40% of a new union's membership in order to apply for certification; full financial disclosure of all unions; and the option of a member to designate his/her dues to a charity of one's choice.

* Bill 72 - The Public Schools Amendment Act (2) comes after a review of the 40 year-old collective bargaining process for determining Manitoba's teachers' salaries. The legislation maintains the no-strike and lock-out element but provides allowance for an arbitrator to consider the ability of a school division to pay. As well, the bill provides for two different methods for resolving disputes; the first one involves using, if necessary, a government conciliator before binding arbitration and the second option involves using, if necessary, a mediator who would also act as the arbitrator. For the first option, both parties must agree to the process, however, the second option allows for one party to choose this method after a minimum notice period has occurred.

* Bill 49 - The Regional Health Authorities and Consequential Amendments Act establishes 10 regional health boards as authorities to plan and direct health services in their respective regions.

* Bill 76-The Gaming Control and Consequential Amendments Act is a follow-up to one of the recommendations of a Working Group on the issue of Gambling in Manitoba in proposing the establishment of a gaming commission to provide regulatory control of gambling in Manitoba and provide policy research and advice on its social and economic impacts.

* Bill 31 - The Livestock Industry Diversification and Consequential Amendments Act is that legislation which will provide for Manitobans to legally engage in game farming and ranch native wildlife, namely elk. As just a sketch of the legislative agenda, the Fall will prove to be busy as some 67 bills have yet to go through committee.

Procedural Matters

A five-week strike of provincial home-care workers was the background for a highly politically-charged House which contributed to a number of procedural matters that arose in the recent sittings.

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